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彩虹下的约定

The cars the team rented were Toyota’s Noahs. It was exciting news for the team, as God made a special covenant with Noah in the bible.

God confirmed that same promise with us through our first rainbow sighting on the first day during our drive from Tokyo to Kurihara.

Look carefully and you'll spot the rainbow!

Every day, we packed ourselves into our Noah’s arks to get to the towns of people who called us for assistance.

On the last morning in Kurihara, I woke up early to catch the sunrise again.

It was the same sun and at the same place, yet it was different from what I saw the other morning.

The church sign reads "Jesus Christ Kurihara Bible Baptist Church". It is definitely the church of Jesus Christ.

The other side reads, God is love.

And I saw God's heart peeping through a tree.

I received His love and thanked Him for raising the sun beautifully yet again. As the chilly cold wind was blowing hard that morning, I started to head back to the church.

Then I felt tiny raindrops falling on my face, and something made me look up at the sky behind the church building.

I squealed in excitement at what I saw.

God had planned more than a sunrise for me!

He gave me a delightful surprise – a full rainbow arching over Kurihara Baptist Church!

Despite the extremely strong and chilly cold wind that morning, I felt warm standing under the rainbow.

I enjoyed the Lord’s awesome presence immensely.

J-さん and H-さん, it was a spectacular sight, wasn’t it?

I counted my blessings throughout this trip and thanked Him for the work He has begun in Japan.

I claimed His promises for me, and for the people in Japan that He will rebuild the brokenness in their lives.

If this trip was a present from God to each of us on the team, it was one bundled from the beginning to the end with colourful strings from the rainbow. He filled the present with His love, hope, joy and peace.

I’m carrying this precious gift with me to the next destination.

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Posted by on June 9, 2011 in Scribbles

 

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Go M.A.D

After closely following the tsunami news telecasts online in the comfort of my home for 2 weeks daily after the March 11 disaster, I felt very strongly that I had to do something.

Yes, I could pray.

Yes, I could donate money towards the cause of the Japan disaster.

Yes, I could practise self-restraint 自粛 ‘ji shuku’, which many Japanese I spoke to, were doing. For example, the Tokyo government raised a call for the people to avoid holding hanami parties and many Japanese didn’t indulge in themselves extravagantly. It was their way to remember and support their fellow countrymen who were affected by the tsunami in the Tohoku area.

But having done all the above, I felt compelled to do more. I had to go to Tohoku.

There were safety issues due to the radiation from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in the air, water and food, and the aftershocks that were continuing. Despite these fears, I wanted to go.

From the news, I saw the vastness of the damage and the staggering number of households and lives that were affected, and I couldn’t help but feel that I was too small and weak to make any difference. What could I possibly do to help? Nevertheless, I followed my heart and went.

The team was made up of mostly individuals who hardly knew one another before the trip. Yet, when we touched down in Japan, the bonding was amazing. We served with one heart in Christ, for the Japanese people who needed our help.

During one of the Sunday services, SP assured the Love Japan teams that every family and life we touched in Japan, mattered to God. Though we might have only helped one household on any one day of the trip, to that family, it meant everything. It made a difference.

 

 

Jesus said to His followers, “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world” ~ Matthew 5:13-14

He is saying, “You are my salt and light, so Go Make A Difference for me while you’re on this earth.”

Go M.A.D. for Jesus.

LJP teams ganbare!

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2011 in Scribbles

 

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Of seagulls and flowers

Pastor K told the team a story about seagulls that lived on the islets off the coast of Kesennuma.

The seagulls loved to flock to the islets to lay their eggs and breed their youngs. The seagulls created such a din that the locals living along the coast found them a menace.

A photo retrieved from the debris of M-san’s house right by the coast. Seagulls were on the islets in the background.

 

Strangely, on 10 March 2011, a day before the tsunami, not a single seagull could be sighted and the coast was unusually quiet.

The next day, tsunami waves higher than the trees on the islets came crashing onto the shores of Kesennuma.

Did the seagulls sense something threatening was about to happen?

Since then, the seagulls had not returned to the coast.

The coast was gravely silent without the cries of the seagulls, as if in mourning.

It was not till late April, some 3-5 days before the team’s arrival, that the seagulls returned to breed and stay on some of the islets and the coast again.

M-san's house used to stand here. Foreground: One of the piles of debris sorted by the team. Background, far right: Seagulls had returned to the islets.

 

Now, the noisy seagulls brought peace of mind to the locals.

I understood from this story that God had endowed animals with special instincts to preserve their species.

Psalm 36:6  Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, LORD, preserve both people and animals.

Another sign of hope was that many wild spring flowers were blooming again in the tsunami swept land. Life had found a way of returning to the barren land! Spring may be late, but it came afterall!

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Scribbles

 

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Faithfulness of God

There was absolute silence in the car when we first entered the worst hit tsunami town of Kesennuma, Minami-sanriku.

We were driving through a familiar scene that had been on the TV news since the disaster happened in March.

However, just like watching the TV news on the evening of 11 March 2011, it still felt surreal, despite being there in person, in the middle of the tsunami wrecked town.

The place looked more like a movie set than reality. The coastal line was left bare except for a few buildings that had withstood the devastating waves. It seemed that nothing man-made nor natural had a chance to overcome the waters on that fateful afternoon.

I asked myself, is God here in this barren, lifeless and destroyed land?

YES! The Psalmist reassured us that there is no place in the world that we can run to where God’s love and faithfulness will not meet us (Psalm 36).

God is committed to love His people in Japan.

He sent us.

He sent many others who don’t speak the Japanese language, but who want to help Japan to stand up from where she had fallen.

During the trip, we proclaimed God’s faithfulness in our lives and the lives of those we met daily with the song  云上太阳  “The Sun above the Clouds” by 赞美之泉 

无论是住在美丽的高山  Whether you live in the beautiful mountains

或是躺卧在阴暗的幽谷  or lie in the dark and evil valleys

当你抬起头  when you lift up your head

你将会发现  you’ll realise

主已为你我而预备  the Lord has prepared for you and me

云上太阳    它总不改变  Like the sun above the clouds that never changes 

虽然小雨洒在脸上  Although the rain may fall on your face

云上太阳    它总不改变 Like the sun above the clouds that never changes

哈啊    祂不改变 God doesn’t change

When the problems in our lives seemed too heavy and pressed us down, if only we look up, we’ll see God looking down from the heavens and smiling, “My child, I am always here, everything will be alright.”

I pray that more Christians will volunteer in Japan, and show more of God’s unchanging and unconditional love to the Japanese.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Scribbles

 

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Strengthened to serve

It was the first sunrise for the crisis relief team in the land of the rising sun.

The morning sun rays beamed in through the glass door of the church and nudged me out of my sleeping bag to see its full glory.

I was reminded once again, that His love, like the rising sun, is new every morning, and that I can draw strength from Him to start each day afresh.

Indeed, it was His strength that saw me through the days at ground zero daily.

Before we departed for Japan, God had promised the team through Psalm 121 that He’d be our helper.

詩編 / 121

1節 わたしは山にむかって目をあげる。わが助けは、どこから来るであろうか。

2節 わが助けは、天と地を造られた主から来る。

3節 主はあなたの足の動かされるのをゆるされない。あなたを守る者はまどろむことがない。

4節 見よ、イスラエルを守る者は/まどろむこともなく、眠ることもない。

5節 主はあなたを守る者、主はあなたの右の手をおおう陰である。

6節 昼は太陽があなたを撃つことなく、夜は月があなたを撃つことはない。

7節 主はあなたを守って、すべての災を免れさせ、またあなたの命を守られる

8節 主は今からとこしえに至るまで、あなたの出ると入るとを守られるであろう。

    

This church was our base camp. It couldn’t be built on a better spot.

The rising sun shines directly at it every morning. I felt that it symbolises that the church (family of God) that receives His light will carry it out to the world.

And I heard that the ground on which this church was built on, is extremely hard and stable. It had withstood earthquakes up to magnitude 7 without any damage.

When I was there, there were at least 2 earthquake alerts sounded on the Japanese mobile phones. One was in the middle of the night, but I slept through it without a stir. Another was in the morning. I could hear the glass and things shaking outside the church building, but sitting inside the building, I didn’t feel any shaking at all.

When we’re wise and build our house on the Lord our rock, it will not be shaken!

With Him on our side, as we serve Him and the people in Japan, what and who can be against us?

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2011 in Scribbles

 

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Shaken but not destroyed

Today is the third day since a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit the Pacific Ocean near Northeastern Japan around 2:46pm on 11 March (JST). I am relieved to know that all my friends in Japan, some of whom are as close to me as my family, were shaken but safe. I thank God for His protection over them.

When I first watched the news outside a telco shop that evening, I couldn’t believe my eyes as the live footages of the impact of the earthquake in Tokyo were played. Tall office buildings in the metropolitan city were swaying and workers inside those buildings were petrified. At the street level, there were deep cracks on the roads and power failures were reported in many parts of the city. The public transport services, including bullet trains (shinkansen), local trains and buses, were forced to a halt. As night fell, many people were stranded on the streets and they had to walk home or stay overnight in the office.

In Northeastern Japan, the situation was even more appalling. An hour or so after the earthquake was felt in Tokyo, tsunami waves as high as 6 metres gushed over the coasts of Sendai, Fukushima and Ibaraki. I stood transfixed as I watched a footage of the sea washing ships ashore over the roofs of low rise buildings, completely drowning parked vehicles on the land, and breaking through windows of buildings. Cars and houses were floating on the waves and smashing into bridges.

The next few days, I followed the news on tv and on the internet as the aftershocks continued and the disaster zone expanded. To make the situation worse, fears of leakages in two reactors in a nuclear plant in Fukushima were confirmed. The nuclear plant had since been shut down and scheduled blackouts had been implemented to conserve energy.

I have been observing all these from the comfort and safety of a high rise apartment home, over dinner in a litted room, with not a sign of threat from nature outside my window. As an observer, I feel affected, so I cannot imagine the extent of trauma the people who are out there in the disaster zone are experiencing now.

The only thing I can do, is to get down on my knees and pray for the nation of Japan.

This is my prayer using Psalm 60:

Dear God,

Save the people in Japan and help them with your right hand,
   that those you love may be delivered. 
God has spoken from his sanctuary: 
He will grant Japan aid against the enemy,
   for human help is worthless.
With God Japan will gain the victory,
   and he will trample down all enemies.

I pray that the churches in Japan will rise up and wave God’s banner high to proclaim His peace, love and hope over the nation.

Japan may have been shaken, but I claim God’s promise in the bible that He is with the people of Japan in the “gentle whisper after the fire” (1 Kings 19:12b).

I pray all these in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

I urge you, please pray for Japan too. A minute is all it takes, but it will be the most valuable minute you can give to a life hanging on the line in the disaster-hit regions.

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land” Ezekiel 22:30

Our prayers can move the hands of God to change history. We have to stand in the gap before our heavenly Father for the Japanese people.

As it is, God is using this disaster to restore relationships between the nations. China had sent a rescue team to Japan and had offered an emergency aid of US$4.6 million, including a relief package of blankets, tents and emergency lighs to be despatched to the rescue operation sites in Japan. South Korea also put aside past resentment of Japan to assist Japan as much as possible in her dire need of help.

You may want to pray specifically for each region by referring to the comprehensive information on Google’s site.

Here are other practical ways you can help.

Mercy Relief in Singapore is accepting donations to procure relief supplies.

Follow the NHK World TV news in English, and these TV stations in Japanese: NHK, TBS, and FUJI

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2011 in Scribbles

 

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